Regional health board future uncertain The future of the Coast Garibaldi Regional Health Board looks more and more uncertain. Health Minister Paul Ramsey released a statement before Christmas, following a meeting between Ministry of Health officials and members of the health board, saying there are "serious questions" about the viability of the Coast Garibaldi Regional Health Board. "We have listened carefully to the concerns of the public and have offered our assurance that we have no intention of closing the hospital in Sechelt," Ramsey says in a press release. "However, there are serious questions which remain unresolved regarding the viability of the Coast Garibaldi Regional Health Board. I have instructed ministry staff to work closely with board members in the weeks ahead to determine whether the existing boundaries should be maintained." The end of the month has been set as the deadline for alternative proposals to the health board boundaries. The Sea to Sky Community Health Council is concerned three years of community participation in health planning towards health service autonomy for the Coast Garibaldi Health Region may have been for naught. The council has been instructed to consider amalgamation with the North Shore Health Board. The council’s concerns are that the North Shore Health Board will control local health services, community-based health services will be affected, and community self-sufficiency may be lost. Ramsey noted the work done in planning for the integration of health services by the Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast and Powell River Community Health Councils, but pointed to a lack of regional focus and substance in the health and management plan submitted by the Coast Garibaldi Regional Health Board. "It’s time to work together to determine whether the three Community Health Councils, currently represented on the regional board in Coast Garibaldi, and the people they represent, might be better served within the boundaries of a more appropriate regional health board," Ramsey says. "We want to explore whether realigning the boundaries would give the public a more effective vote in the management of health services in the regions where they receive more specialized care." Ramsey stressed that regardless of the regional boundaries that might surround them, the Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast and Powell River Community Health Councils must continue their role in improving health care delivery in the communities they serve.